• Transfers: Youngster Anouar El Mhassani joins the Club from Ajax

    West Ham United are delighted to confirm the signing of exciting Dutch prospect Anouar El Mhassani.

    The 16-year-old joins the Club on a three-year deal having left last season’s Eredivisie runners-up Ajax.

    The youngster, who spent eight years with the Amsterdam outfit, is a left-footed attacking midfielder who can also operate on either flank.

    El Mhassani was a regular in Ajax’s youth teams last season and is looking forward to getting started in east London having put pen to paper with the Hammers.

    “Of course it’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “I feel really pleased to be here. It’s a big step for me in my life as well as my football career, but I feel as though I am ready.

    “After eight years at Ajax, I feel like I have seen it all and this is a new challenge, so it’s good for me.

    “West Ham’s success in the Academy is something that I kept in my mind. West Ham is a good Academy, so it was a good step for me to come here and develop myself.”

    Over the last year, the Hammers have seen the likes of Toni Martinez and Domingos Quina arrive from elsewhere in Europe and flourish in London, with the duo both establishing themselves as key players for the U23s in 2016/17.

    Read more at http://www.whufc.com/news/articles/2017/july/19-july/youngster-anouar-el-mhassani-joins-club-ajax#sRSjIzpwLlZyhAeV.99

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  • CAF: African soccer considers major shakeup for Cup of Nations

    RABAT, Morocco (AP) African soccer’s biggest tournament could be moved from the start of the year to the European summer months of June and July, with the number of teams being increased from 16 to 24.

    The proposals for the future of the African Cup of Nations were made at a two-day meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Rabat, Morocco, hosted by the Confederation of African Football. The changes appear to have widespread support.

    New CAF president Ahmad, who was elected in March to replace long-standing leader Issa Hayatou, promised a review of the Cup of Nations in his election campaign.

    The move from January-February to June-July would be especially important for CAF’s flagship tournament – its major money earner – which has been troubled for years by the fact that it clashes with a crucial time for European leagues.

    That’s led to club vs. country dilemmas for many of Africa’s Europe-based players, underlined at this year’s Cup of Nations in Gabon when seven of Cameroon’s top players decided to miss the three-week tournament to remain with their clubs.

    The increase from 16 to 24 teams would follow the lead of the European Championship, which increased from 16 to 24 teams in 2016, and the World Cup, which will go to 48 teams from 2026. The reasoning behind the expansion for the African Cup is simple: More teams mean more games, and more television and marketing revenue for CAF.

    The proposals, made at the meeting of leading soccer figures from across Africa, would need to be formally approved by CAF’s executive committee. The executive committee is expected to meet before CAF’s special general assembly is held in Rabat on Friday.

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  • Transfers: Zakarya Bergdich joins Sochaux

    Ligue 2 side Sochaux have completed the signing of Morocco international Zakarya Bergdich on a two-year deal.

    The left-sider, who ended his one-season stay at Cordoba CF earlier this window, returns to French football after previously featuring for Alfortville and Racing Club de Lens.

    Sochaux confirmed the deal on their official website on Wednesday, with the player announcing that he was delighted to be moving to the Stade Auguste Bonal.

    The versatile wideman was formed at Strasbourg and US Creteil-Lusitanos, and made his Ligue 1 bow during a three-year stay with Lens.

    He also spent time in Spain with Valladolid, but struggled to impress, and was loaned out to Genoa before securing a permanent move to English side Charlton Athletic.

    Having represented Morocco at the 2012 Olympics, he was also named in Rachid Taoussi's 2013 Africa Cup of Nations squad as the Atlas Lions crashed out, undefeated, in the first round.

    Bergdich will wear the number five shirt at Sochaux, who also parted ways with Tunisia international Mohamed Larbi this week.

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  • Transfers: Short news

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Rafik Zekhnini has completed move to Fiorentina while Moha Ezzerfani has joined Barcelona B.

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  • Press review: Ajax fans rally for stricken player Abdelhak Nouri

    Hundreds of fans of the Dutch football team Ajax have staged an emotional rally outside the family home of a player who suffered brain damage after collapsing in a friendly match.

    Tributes have been pouring in for 20-year-old Abdelhak Nouri who collapsed in a game in Austria a week ago.

    The club says the midfielder suffered "serious and permanent brain damage".

    Nouri, known as Appie, has been transferred to an Amsterdam hospital for further treatment.

    In an emotional display of support for the player, Ajax fans gathered outside his parents' home in the Geuzenveld district of Amsterdam, applauding, lighting flares and chanting "Appie, Appie".

    Nouri suffered cardiac arrhythmias - heart rhythm problems - during the game against German team Werder Bremen, Ajax said in a statement,

    He received emergency treatment on the pitch and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Innsbruck.

    The club has said there is no chance of him recovering from the damage.

    "The diagnosis was made that a lot of [his] brain is not functioning. All this probably occurred due to a lack of oxygen supply," the statement said.

    Shock at the news has been reflected in Dutch media.

    "News that the Ajax super-talent Abdelhak Nouri has suffered severe brain damage burst like a bombshell," the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper said.

    "It doesn't get more bitter than this," commented De Telegraaf, adding that the "friendly, soft-spoken but roguish Appie who once put a smile on everybody's face has now become the centre of dismay and sadness".

    Nouri made his debut for Ajax last September and played 15 league and cup games, scoring a goal in a cup tie.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40620072

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  • Moroccans abroad: Abdelhak Nouri suffers 'severe and permanent brain damage'

    Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri has suffered "severe and permanent brain damage" after collapsing during a preseason friendly game in Austria on Saturday.

    The Dutch club "it received very bad news regarding the condition of Abdelhak Nouri" after doctors at a hospital in Innsbruck woke him from an induced coma.

    In a post on their official Twitter account, the club said: "#Ajax are deeply saddened by the news that Appie Nouri has been diagnosed with serious and permanent brain damage..."

    "Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his loved ones in this difficult time."

    The diagnosis comes two days after tests indicated that Nouri's heart was undamaged while a CT scan of his brain and neurological tests showed no irregularities either.

    Ajax said on Tuesday that doctors were "cautiously optimistic about his recovery."

    The 20-year-old Dutchman collapsed and was taken to hospital by helicopter with Ajax trailing Werder Bremen 2-1 in Saturday's preseason friendly.

    The game in Zillertal in the Austrian Alps was abandoned after the 70th-minute incident.

    http://www.espnfc.co.uk/ajax-amsterdam/story/3157154/ajaxs-abdelhak-nouri-suffers-severe-and-permanent-brain-damage

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  • Moroccans abroad: Achraf Hakimi included in Real Madrid U.S pre-season tour

    Moroccans abroad: Achraf Hakimi included in Real Madrid U.S pre-season tour.

    http://www.realmadrid.com/en/news/2017/07/the-26-players-who-will-travel-from-madrid-to-los-angeles

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  • Transfers: Zakaria El Azzouzi joins Excelsior Rotterdam on loan from Ajax for one season

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  • Transfers: Schalke sign Harit from Nantes

    Schalke have confirmed the signing of France Under-20 international Amine Harit on a four-year deal from Nantes.

    The Bundesliga club are reported to have paid €8million to bring Harit to the club, with the midfielder having previously been linked with Arsenal.

    Harit made 30 appearances and scored one goal in a breakthrough year at the Ligue 1 side last season, but departs following the appointment of Claudio Ranieri.

    And Harit believes Schalke is the right club to move to at this stage in his development, with 31-year-old Domenico Tedesco having taken charge ahead of the new campaign.

    "This move is a big step in my career," the 20-year-old said. "And I'm convinced I'll be able to develop into the player I want to become at this club.

    "I've known Schalke for a long time - Raul, the Champions League games, I followed it all, just like their games last season against Nice in the Europa League."

    Schalke confirmed their interest in Harit last month and Tedesco was delighted to welcome his latest recruit, who joins fellow new signing - defender Pablo Insua - at the Veltins-Arena.

    "Amine is a technically versatile player, who can dribble at pace and and applies himself well defensively," Tedesco said.

    "He's a player who attacks boldly and can therefore make the difference. We're happy to have been able to sign him."

    Read more at https://www.fourfourtwo.com/news/schalke-sign-harit-nantes#Ia406iPeSwckHk8P.99

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  • African Champions League: Wydad to Face Title-Holder in Quarter-Finals

    (Morocco World News) Following the draw for the African Champions League quarter-finals on Sunday night, the Mamelodi Sundowns will bethe next opponent of Wydad Casablanca.

    First in Group D, the Reds will have the advantage of welcoming the South Africans to the return match next September at the Mohammed V Complex in Casablanca.

    Wydad to Face Title-Holder in Quarter-Finals

    Wydad Casablanca gleaned theirticket to the quarter-finals after winning the last three matches, including defeating FC Zanaco on Saturday night with a goal from Bencherki at the68th minute. With this success, they have finished at the top of the group.

    “Without the foreign players, we managed to reach the quarterfinals,” said the coach Houcine Ammouta. “I thank the players, who have done a good game and have managed to express the spirit of this team.”

    Ammouta continued, “We have enough time to choose the best players who can help the team qualify for the final. We must work hard and give our best. If we lose it is not the end of the world. We are the champions of the botola and we [will participate] next year in the Champions League.”

    The quarter-finals will put the Egyptian club of Al Ahly against the hope of Tunis. The last two matches of this phase will oppose Al Ahly Tripoli to the Etoile Sportif du Sahel and the USMA to Ferroviario.

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